The Importance of Good Fats in Baby Food

By Cassandra Health

Here at Once Upon a Farm, we’re on a mission to improve childhood nutrition! Did you know that most baby food on the market is completely void of healthy fats? Shocking, we know. But there’s no need to worry because all 7+ month and older blends from Once Upon a Farm contain healthy fats. And we’re talking the good kind. Think avocado, chia seed and coconut milk to name a few. Yum! With unique blends, organic ingredients and healthy fats, we’re here to help ensure your little one doesn’t miss out on a key part of his or her dietary needs!

Now, why do we incorporate healthy fats into our recipes? Healthy fats are essential for growth and act as ‘nutrient booster.’ They aid brain and nerve tissue development and are also important for healthy bones and organs. They even help maintain a healthy immune system! Healthy fats account for the bulk of the growth of myelin (a fatty coating on nerve cells that helps baby think quickly). They are the building blocks for neurotransmitters involved in self-control and emotion and as the hippocampus develops, healthy fat fuels the memory and leaning centers of the brain. (1)

We use avocado, hempseed, chia seed, coconut oil, coconut milk and flax seeds as healthy fats in our blends. Each of these ingredients help the body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K when combined with fresh fruits and veggies (our specialty!). Our little ones can more effectively absorb fat-soluble vitamins with healthy fats in their diet. (2)

Our recipes are created with the help of 3 expert advisors, including Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN, childhood nutrition expert. Each blend is carefully planned for optimal nutrition and to benefit physical, emotional and mental development including healthy fats in our 7+, 9+ and 18+ month blends. Here are some of the ingredient benefits:

  • Coconut Milk helps to support a healthy immune system. A bit different from dairy or breast milk, Coconut milk is made from the liquid found in mature coconuts. It’s mixed with grated coconut meat and then strained. Coconut milk has lauric acid, which is converted by the body into monolaurin, a highly beneficial compound that is antibacterial and antiviral and is thought to help protect against infections and viruses. (3) Organic coconut milk makes our Sun-Shiny Strawberry Patch creamy and adds a smooth texture to our Carrot-y Coconut-y QuinoaJust Right Oats and Gold-y Mango & the 3 Coconuts.
  • Coconut Oil contains lauric acid as well (which is also in breast milk). This helps baby’s immune system and has antimicrobial properties. Coconut oil also has MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides), which are easily metabolized and digested. (4) Mama Bear Blueberry combines organic coconut oil into a blend of fresh organic apples, blueberries and sweet potatoes.
  • Chia Seeds are a modern day super food that have been used for centuries. They are from the Salvia Hispanica plant which is related to mint. Chia seeds help provide sustainable energy (chia is the ancient Mayan word for strength). They contain fiber, high quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that can help with cell damage. (5) Our Sun-Shiny Strawberry Patch blend has organic chewy chia seeds!
  • Avocado is a creamy fruit with monosaturated fats and vitamin E, folate, protein and fiber. They help the body to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol. They can also help curb hunger. (6) We include organic avocado in our Wild Rumpus Avocado blend.
  • Hemp Seeds contain fiber, omega-6 and omega-3. Since they provide all essential amino acids (which cannot be produced by the body), they are considered a complete source of protein and help to keep you feeling full longer. With soluble and insoluble fiber, they aid digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes which can cause baby to be moody. (7) A balanced diet is part of holistic nutrition that can help your baby feel his or her best! Our Green Kale & Apples blend incorporates these tiny soft seeds.
  • Flax Seeds are a nutrition powerhouse! These tiny seeds have soluble and insoluble fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and ALA (α-linolenic acid) lignins. They help the cardiovascular system and can aid digestion. (8) We include organic flax seeds in our OhMyMega Veggie blend!

Your baby is growing every day and using the fuel you provide to become bigger, stronger and smarter so remember to incorporate healthy fats where you can! And when you need a convenient option, we’re here for you making homemade so you don’t have to!

 Sources:

  1. Miller, Anna Medaris. “Feeding Your Baby’s Brain.” US News & World Report, 5 Jan. 2016, health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2016-01-05/feeding-your-babys-brain. Accessed 7 Sept. 2017.
  1. White, Adrian. “Fat-Soluble Vitamins.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 22 June 2017, www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/fat-soluble-vitamins#overview1. Accessed 7 Sept. 2017.
  1. Gunnars, Kris. “10 Impressive Health Benefits of Coconut Oil.” Healthline, 4 June 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil#section9. Accessed 7 Sept. 2017.
  2. “Coconut Milk Health Benefits and Uses.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 30 July 2016, www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-milk#section3. Accessed 7 Sept. 2017.
  3. Gunnars, Kris. “11 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 30 May 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds. Accessed 7 Sept. 2017.
  1. Dreher, Mark L., and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Taylor & Francis, May 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/. Accessed 7 Sept. 2017.
  2. Derek, et al. “13 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds.” Well-Being Secrets, 22 June 2017, www.well-beingsecrets.com/hemp-seeds-benefits/. Accessed 7 Sept. 2017. 
  1. Goyal, Ankit, et al. “Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food.” Journal of Food Science and Technology, Springer India, Sept. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152533/. Accessed 7 Sept. 2017.

2 responses to "The Importance of Good Fats in Baby Food"

  1. Eléonore says:

    You have way too many options that contain coconut. You need more that contain the avocado, hemp seeds, or flax seeds. Five kids here and all are severely allergic to coconut (among other allergies but none of the others are in the options you make).

    Please start making more coconut free options and using avocado, hemp seeds or flax seeds instead!

    1. Once Upon a Farm says:

      Thank you for your feedback! We’re always coming up with new recipes, so this feedback is very helpful! For now, you may like our our Wild Rumpus Avocado and Green Kale & Apples blends!

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